Murder suspect developed almost three years later using forensic genetic genealogy
UPPER MARLBORO, MD (December 8, 2021) – Yesterday, 23-year-old Brandon Biagas, of Waldorf, was sentenced to 30 years, with all but 17 years suspended, after pleading guilty to second degree murder. Biagas was developed as a suspect based upon forensic genetic genealogy (FGG) evidence.
On May 29, 2017, Biagas stabbed the victim, Mathew Mickens-Murray (age 26), at his home in Hyattsville. While conducting a welfare check on Mickens-Murray the next day, police found him deceased in the living room, having sustained 36 stab wounds and 15 cuts on his body.
The investigation revealed that there was unidentified DNA and fingerprint evidence at the crime scene that did not belong to the victim. The evidence was submitted to national and local databases that resulted in no matches. The samples were then sent to a lab for FGG analysis. From there, a family tree was established which led to Biagas as a possible donor of the unidentified DNA at the crime scene.
Further investigation of Biagas indicated that he and the victim were in contact with each other through social media dating sites. It was also discovered that Biagas had checked himself into the Charles Regional Medical Center in LaPlata for a severe cut on his hand on the night of the murder. Further evidence was developed that led to Biagas’ arrest in July 2020. Subsequent DNA testing showed that the unidentified blood and fingerprint at the crime scene belonged to Biagas.
“I am pleased that this case has been resolved and I want to thank our police department for their partnership and diligence in this investigation. I also want to thank my attorneys for their hard work in achieving justice for Mr. Mickens-Murray and his loved ones. This case is a prime example of the power and importance of forensic genetic genealogy as an investigative tool for serious cases,” State’s Attorney Braveboy.
Last year, the Office of the State’s Attorney for Prince George’s County received a $470,000 grant from the Department of Justice that allows the office and Prince George’s Police Department to move forward in solving cold cases. The office is one of only 10 prosecutor’s office in the country to receive this important funding.